If you have suffered from an injury or any other type of damage because you used a defective product, you might have a claim. A highly important part of any defective products claim involves trying to work out the types of damages you have suffered, and the amount of damage you have suffered.
One of the first things you will need to do when starting a defective products claim is to estimate all of your damages. This is because if you have only suffered minor financial losses and injuries it may not be worth your while making a claim. What’s more is if you have only experienced small damages it’s unlikely that a lawyer will be willing to represent you. However, this may not be the case if the product that caused you harm also caused harm to other people too. In cases such as these, you could join other plaintiffs (Injured parties) in a class action lawsuit.
If you have a lot of damages
If you have a lot of damages it’s vital that you make sure you catalog them all at the very start of your lawsuit. If you do not make a note of your damages there is a risk that you may not receive the correct settlement.
“Damages” is a legal term that refers to a sum of money or a settlement that has been paid to the injured party as a form of compensation for their loss or injury. Damages are also paid to the injured party as a form of punishment towards the defendant for their negligence or actions. Although there are many different types of damages, ultimately the defendant will need to pay the damages in monetary form.
The Two Categories of Damages
There are two categories that damages tend to fall into, these categories are punitive damages and compensatory damages. Please be aware that because products liability law is always governed by state law, the amount of damages you can receive and the type of damages you can ask for will depend on which state you live in.
Also known as ‘Actual damages’, compensatory damages are used to compensate the plaintiff for the injuries they have sustained. The damages are awarded in a bid to return the plaintiff to the condition they were in before the injury took place. A dollar value is attached to all of the damages that took place and will determine how much the defendant will have to pay.
In some cases, the plaintiff may not be able to return to the condition they were in before their injury occurred. This is often the case if permanent injuries exist, however in claims such as this the defendant may have to pay a sum that bears some significance to the value of the injuries.
Compensatory damages have two categories that can help to compensate for non-economic and economic losses.
Also known as ‘Monetary losses’ or ‘Special damages’ economic losses refer to property or money that has been lost or missed out on (Such as earnings) due to an injury. Some of the most popular types of economic losses include:
– Medical expenses, which include doctors bills, prescriptions, hospital visits etc. If you are going to need more treatment for your injury you will need to take your future medical bills into consideration when calculating your damages.
– Loss of earnings, which includes all of the salary you missed out on if you were too injured to work. If your injuries have an impact on your future work, you will need to take them into consideration when calculating your damages.
– The cost of your disability, if you have been badly injured and you now need to make changes to your home or lifestyle because of your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for this. What this means is if you now have to use a wheelchair to get around the defendant may have to pay for the wheelchair, and any changes made to your home as a result of needing one.
– Loss or damage to property, if when you used the defective product your property was damaged or destroyed, you might be entitled to receive damages for this.
Also known as ‘Non-monetary losses’ or ‘General damages’ non-economic losses help to compensate for certain aspects of your injury that may be hard to determine. In other words, they could compensate for any pain and suffering you are experiencing.
– Pain and suffering, you may receive compensation for any loss of enjoyment, anguish, or pain that you have suffered from as a result of your injury. Although it is often hard to compensate someone properly for their pain and suffering, it is hoped that a monetary award may help.
Loss of consortium
If the injuries you sustained as a result of your accident have had a negative effect on your relationship with your partner, you may receive a monetary award. Loss of consortium can refer to friendships, emotional support, affection and sexual relations. In some cases, your partner may be able to make a claim for loss of consortium too.
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